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Whether you're of Italian descent or you just want your children to be cultured, you probably want your offspring to appreciate this wonderful country. While it's difficult to force an appreciation, you can try some things to gently coax them into really understanding and having respect for the country.
Here are some great thing to do before you take off for Italy to really gear them up for the vacation!
Incorporate Italian Traditions
Traditions are so important when you're trying to teach appreciation and respect because they help to link us with our ancestors. For example, many Italian families have big dinners on Palm Sunday after they attend mass together. In general, Italian families tend to have huge Sunday suppers where many extended members of the family come to eat together and enjoy the evening.
You should also look into the religious elements of being Italian. While not all Italians are of the exact same faith and some have no religious identity at all, the vast majority of them are Roman Catholic. Now, you don't have to convert right now or anything of that nature, but you can at least look into a Roman Catholic service. Attend with your family. Explain how some parts of the mass or homily relate to Italian traditions or the Italian culture. In certain regions of the United States, you'll also find many Italians who are Lutheran or who attend Italian churches.
Taking School Courses
A formal education can also be very helpful in teaching your children to appreciate Italy. In these classes, they will likely be able to learn a lot more about the history and culture than you could really teach at home. At the collegiate level, it should be fairly easy to enroll in a class based on the history of Europe or one that explores the Italian language. For younger children, find out if any classes or even clubs are offered with this subject matter. You can look outside the school too, as some communities offer different types of classes for children.
Gear it Toward Them
Find out what they like - kids are not on the same page as adults when it comes to fun. You likely are excited about the wine, the food, the art, the architecture and the nightlife. These will not appeal to your kids. Look into family-friendly locations for lodging - many campsites exists with pools and arcades and such. Find malls for shopping (careful though - shopping in Italy is pricey!) and don't always eat at fancy restaurants. Work a trip to informal pizzerias or fast foods into a busy afternoon of sight-seeing.
This is a guest post written by Jender Rodriguez
Jender Rodriguez writes about educational travel. Her recent work is about earning an M.Ed. Online. If you have any question for Jender, post a comment and do not miss our next posts...